Meet the Clinical Leadership Team for the UK Parkinson's Excellence Network

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This is an important development for the Excellence Network, putting in place a strong clinical leadership team to take forward the Network's goal of ensuring high quality multi-disciplinary care for everyone affected by Parkinson's.

Donald Grosset, Clinical Director of the UK Parkinson's Excellence Network, says:

"I am delighted to introduce the clinical team leads for the UK Parkinson's Excellence Network. What is so important about this development for the Network is how is reflects the way we want to deliver the best clinical care - as a team that works together and includes the main clinical areas that have importance for people affected by Parkinson's.

"We have Richard Walker representing medicine for the elderly, while I contribute similarly on behalf of neurology.

"We have 3 nurse specialists: Patsy Cotton (who is award-winning with her Manchester team for their Parkinson's care delivery), Annette Hand (who has done groundbreaking research in people with advanced Parkinson's) and Alison Leake (who has been pioneering in linkage to surgical services for Parkinson's).

"And finally, we have Fiona Lindop, a specialised physiotherapist (who has developed standardised methods for assessing the benefits of therapy for Parkinson's) and who is very well connected to other therapist groups that are so important for Parkinson's including occupational therapy and speech and language therapy).

"As a team, we want to maintain and improve our connection to all the different additional groups that are so important in the delivery of Parkinson's care for people in the United Kingdom."

Meet the Team: Q&A 

Each of the leads were asked 3 key questions as to how and when they got involved with Parkinson's and why they stepped up to take a leadership role in the Network. 

Richard Walker, Clinical lead: medicine

what made you interested in working in the field of Parkinson's? 

"I had come across Parkinson's when I worked in neurology as a junior doctor. But it was only when I took up my consultant post at North Tyneside General Hospital in 1995 that I really had an opportunity to develop my interest.

"This was at the time when specialist services for Parkinson's were in the infancy and there was no such service in the Trust where I was working so I was asked to set one up.

"Over the years I have learnt how complex Parkinson's is but equally how much can be done to help people with Parkinson's. I am certainly very grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of the improvement of services over the years. 

why take on a leadership role with the uk Parkinson's excellence network?

"I have had more than 20 years' experience of looking after people with Parkinson's. I was previously Chair of the British Geriatrics Society Movement Disorders Section and was on the recent NICE guidelines update committee.

"I now feel very excited about the opportunities of contributing further to the UK Parkinson's Excellence Network for which I have already had a leadership role as theme lead for 'Underserved groups'.

"I know a lot of the neurologists and geriatricians in the UK who specialise in Parkinson's as well as the nurse specialists and also therapists. I hope I can help to bring together the excellent expertise and experience that we have collectively to improve the treatment for people with Parkinson's right across the UK.

what is the biggest difference we can collectively make to further improve Parkinson's services in the uk? 

"I think the biggest difference we can make is to ensure we are optimising the knowledge that we already have to improve services for people with Parkinson's throughout the UK.

"Some services are very good at one thing while other services may be good at other things but we all have areas in which we could improve by learning from others. We need to make the lessons that people have learnt around the country easily accessible so that the benefits from improvements are multiplied. We can all learn from each other."

Patsy Cotton, Clinical lead: innovation and best practice

what made you interested in working in the field of Parkinson's? 

"During my nursing career I have been actively involved in direct patient contact professionally in neurosciences nursing and have a personal insight into Parkinson's from a family perspective.

"10 years of National Health Service management positions have equipped me with the invaluable skills in leadership, interpersonal skills and managing the difference in people.

"I began to develop the Parkinson's service in Greater Manchester with my consultant neurologist colleague and this ignited a passion in the field of Parkinson's for me spanning over the 20 years.

why take on a leadership role with the uk Parkinson's excellence network?

"I attribute my wealth of knowledge to the patients I have been privileged to work with. I put myself forward for this position to deliver and develop excellence across the UK, to engage with healthcare professionals and to ensure that any allied healthcare professional who is clinically involved in the management and  delivery of care to people with Parkinson's has up to date skills.

what is the biggest difference we can collectively make to further improve Parkinson's services in the uk? 

"Recognition and support to our colleagues to improve care working with and towards evidence based practice and to deliver excellence in services across all disciplines.

"Sharing and communication are key to continue the work already undertaken by the Parkinson's Excellence Network forward."

Annette Hand, Clinical lead: nursing

what made you interested in working in the field of Parkinson's? 

"I was working on a hospital ward and a lady came in for an apomorphine challenge. The response that she had to that treatment was amazing and a real 'awakening' experience for me.

"From then on I developed my interest in Parkinson's and soon got a post as a Parkinson's research nurse before becoming a Parkinson's nurse specialist. That was over 21 years ago and I have remained passionate about Parkinson's ever since. 

why take on a leadership role with the uk Parkinson's excellence network?

"I saw this post as a fantastic opportunity to support and help drive forward the work of the UK Parkinson's Excellence Network. I felt it was really important that the leadership team was multidisciplinary in nature as we all have different perspectives and experiences to offer.

"I am very proud to be a Parkinson's nurse and I hope with my knowledge and experience I can add value to the leadership team within the UK Parkinson's Excellence Network as well as provide a strong nursing voice.

what is the biggest difference we can collectively make to further improve Parkinson's services in the uk? 

 

"For me this is all about working together to driver the quality agenda forward. Everyone I speak to is struggling with increasing caseloads and reduction in resources so it can seem difficult to see how we can make things better with such pressures.

 

"By working and learning together, sharing our experiences and supporting each other we can make a real difference, however big or small, as they all count."

Alison Leake, Clinical lead: engagement and best practice

what made you interested in working in the field of Parkinson's? 

"I already worked within a community neurology team but wanted to specialise and work in an acute Trust. The Parkinson's post became available and I was fortunate enough to be recruited.

"I have stayed in the role due to the wonderful people I work with in respect of people with Parkinson's, their families and the professional Parkinson's network I am involved in.

why take on a leadership role with the uk Parkinson's excellence network?

"Many reasons - my enjoyment of working with Parkinson's, feeling I have the skills and knowledge to share and wanting to have an opportunity to do so. The network stands for the same principals and objectives that I aim to work by so I wanted a chance to be part of the process. 

what is the biggest difference we can collectively make to further improve Parkinson's services in the uk? 

"Raising awareness of the condition, the standards of care people with parkinsonism should expect to receive whilst also offering support to those working in the field to share and develop upon good practice."

Fiona Lindop, Clinical lead: therapy

what made you interested in working in the field of Parkinson's? 

"I was working as a physiotherapist in elderly care more than 20 years ago and saw just a few patients who had Parkinson's. I worked with a forward-thinking consultant who decided to set up a multidisciplinary clinic specifically for people affected by Parkinson's and I quickly had to develop my knowledge and skills in the management of Parkinson's - it was a steep learning curve!

"Since then, I have become a specialist physiotherapist in Parkinson's and work in a specialist multidisciplinary team - the dream job! 

why take on a leadership role with the uk Parkinson's excellence network?

"I am really excited about taking on the role of Lead Therapist for the UK Parkinson's Excellence Network. It is a fantastic opportunity to encourage and support therapists as they develop their skills and services in delivering excellence for people with Parkinson's.

"There are so many therapists who have an interest in Parkinson's and a desire to see their services deliver excellent care for people with Parkinson's. One aspect of this leadership role will be to facilitate effective networking among allied health professionals, dissemination of evidence- based practice and opportunities for continued professional development. 

what is the biggest difference we can collectively make to further improve Parkinson's services in the uk? 

"I think the biggest difference we can make to further improve Parkinson's care in the UK is to be a collectively strong voice promoting excellence across the UK, encouraging and supporting professionals to deliver excellence wherever they are working.

"This will include driving forward and supporting improvements in delivery of care arising from the results of the 2017 UK Parkinson's Audit."

Excellence Network: Clinical Leadership Team

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